NPS Hike: Explore Your Thicket in a Longleaf Pine Savannah

Posted by: Mona Halvorsen 3 years, 2 months ago


Explore Your Thicket in a Longleaf Pine Savannah

On Saturday, March 19, 2016, visitors are invited to join park staff for a 3 mile ranger-led hike into a longleaf pine savannah just east of the preserve’s visitor center. There are no trails in this area.

Park staff will lead the walk along fire breaks and natural clearings. This tract of land was recently treated with prescribed fire and is a great example of a healthy longleaf pine savannah. Fire is a vital management tool used in the forest restoration process. Longleaf pine savannahs are known for their abundant biodiversity and provide habitat for many uncommon and unusual species, from carnivorous plants to rare songbirds. Bring your camera and binoculars, as we will highlight the songbirds that are drawn to this savannah. Those interested in participating must call the preserve visitor center at 409-951-6700 to pre-register for this hike, not later than Wednesday, March 16th.

Big Thicket National Preserve Superintendent Wayne Prokopetz stated, “We are excited to offer this opportunity for visitors to explore another undeveloped portion of the national preserve.” Prokopetz continued, “We had a great time exploring the Canyonlands Unit in December and we look forward to offering additional opportunities in the future.”

This ranger-led hike is part of the preserve’s “Explore Your Thicket Centennial Club” program. During the 12 months leading up to the 100th anniversary of the creation of the National Park Service (August 25, 2016), the staff at Big Thicket National Preserve invites you to rediscover your national park. Throughout the year, park rangers will lead programs into areas of the preserve that are “off the beaten path.” The Explore Your Thicket Centennial Club recognizes individuals and their commitment to outdoor recreation within the preserve. This program challenges visitors to travel 100/50/25 miles, depending on age, through the preserve during our Centennial year (August, 2015 through August, 2016). Participants can paddle, hike, run, jog, travel on horseback, and even trek off-trail through the thicket. As you explore, you track your mileage and once you reach the targeted miles, contact preserve staff so we can welcome you to the club.

We encourage everyone to participate in our “Share Your Thicket” Centennial Photo Contest while exploring the preserve. Park visitors are invited to submit photos via Instagram for entry into a year-long contest using the hashtag #BigThicketPhotoContest.  Monthly winners will be chosen in three categories and displayed in our park visitor center. An overall winner will be chosen in the fall of 2016 and displayed in the visitor center.

More information about the Explore Your Thicket Centennial Club and the “Share Your Thicket” Centennial Photo Contest are available at .

For general information about Big Thicket National Preserve, visit or call the preserve visitor center at 409-951-6700. Visit us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram


Big Thicket National Preserve
National Park Service
U.S. Department of Interior
6044 FM 420
Kountze, Texas 77625
409-951-6700 - Visitor Information
409-951-6800 - Headquarters Office

@BigThicketNPS (Facebook, Twitter & Instagram)

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